Spinal fusion is surgical procedure that permanently connects two or more vertebrae in the spine. An orthopedic surgeon may recommend fusion to fix broken bones, stabilize the spine after the removal of a herniated disk, relieve chronic back pain, fix spinal deformities, or correct spondylolisthesis.
During spinal fusion, the surgeon places bone or a bone-like material in the space between two vertebrae, and metal plates, screws, and rods may also be used to hold the vertebrae together. Depending on the extent of the procedure and spinal segments fused, most patients spend 2-3 days in the hospital after the procedure.
Pain and discomfort may be experienced afterward, but the symptoms are usually well-managed with medication. It may take several months for bone healing or fusing to occur. The surgeon may recommend wearing a back brace, use of a bone
stimulator, and physical therapy as part of rehabilitation.